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  • Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche S.p.A. has launched an industrial plan with the purchase of new cutting-edge technologies and investment in research and development for innovative products and processes.
  • The EIB-supported investment will make it possible to improve production efficiency while also reducing energy use and CO2 emissions and cutting production costs.
  • The EU bank loan is supported by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) — the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) — supported by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) — is providing €50 million to finance the research, development and innovation and decarbonisation activities of Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche S.p.A., a world leader in the production and distribution of ceramic surfaces for floors and walls based in Finale Emilia (Modena, Italy). The investments will be made primarily in Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche's three Italian plants in Emilia Romagna and, partially, in two sites in Aveiro, Portugal.

The EU bank's EFSI-guaranteed funds will enable Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche — assisted in structuring the financing by Ethica Group — to purchase new technologies and cutting-edge machinery, such as new systems and machinery for the pressing, finishing and digital printing of ceramics, as well as automatic materials handling systems and newly designed energy-saving furnaces adapted for hydrogen fuelling. Investment in research and development for innovative products and processes is also planned to improve production efficiency while also reducing energy use and cutting production costs.

These innovative technologies will make it possible to use renewable energy sources (such as biofuels and green hydrogen in ceramic furnaces) as an alternative to methane gas. This funding will help the company to acquire more efficient machinery that will enable, upon completion of the project, an estimated 15% reduction in emissions compared to current machinery, with further possible reductions thanks to the use of renewable fuels when they become more accessible on the market.

In addition, a portion of the investment will help bring certain stages of the production process in-house to simplify the supply chain while at the same time cutting CO2 emissions and the use of packaging, transport and shipping materials to further improve the company's environmental footprint and competitiveness.

The aims of the proposed investment are in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and with the EIB Climate Bank Roadmap and the European Green Deal, as the project covers the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies and products, energy efficiency and resources. The operation is supported by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) — the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe — in which the EIB and the European Commission work together to boost the competitiveness of the European economy.

EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti said: “The modernisation and decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries like ceramics is a top priority for the European Union to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The EIB support will enable Panariagroup Ceramica to purchase cutting-edge machinery and technology while also investing in qualified personnel and research and development activities to reduce its environmental impact and further improve its international competitiveness.”

Panariagroup President Emilio Mussini added: “This financing is a key strategic step for our company, as it will enable us to further strengthen our path to growth and change to modernise and become more sustainable. We want to become a leader on this front, continuing to apply longstanding choices such as a focus on product innovation, a key example of which was our pioneering introduction of ultra-thin slabs almost 20 years ago. We were the first ceramic group to industrialise this material as sustainably as possible. We are proud to receive this major EIB loan and are confident that our strategy is solid and credible, giving us new impetus to continue on our path.”

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Between 2019 and 2021, the EIB Group provided more than €36 billion in financing for projects in Italy.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It provides first loss guarantees that enable the EIB Group to invest in riskier projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing as part of EFSI have to date attracted investments totalling €524.3 billion and benefiting more than 1.4 million SMEs. In Italy, total EFSI financing stands at €13 billion and has been used to activate €76 billion in additional investments.

Panariagroup

Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche S.p.A. is a multinational Italian group and a world leader in the production and distribution of ceramic tiles for floors and walls for the luxury market segment. With almost 1 700 employees, 10 000 business customers and six production facilities (three in Italy, two in Portugal and one in the United States), it is a reference point in its sector with 79.5% of its sales focused on foreign markets. Specialised in the production of porcelain and laminated stoneware via its nine commercial brands (Panaria Ceramica, Lea Ceramiche, Cotto D’Este, Blustyle and Maxa in Italy, Margres and Love Tiles in Portugal, Florida Tile in the United States and Bellissimo in India), Panariagroup offers high quality luxury solutions for all residential, commercial and public building needs. Panariagroup is an international company with a presence in Italy, Portugal, the United States and India and an extensive sales network in over 130 countries across the world.